Oh, how I loathed it, this - thing - that disturbed my rest. No no no, it never physically sought me out, to torture my dreams - my sleep. Instead it tormented me metaphysically, sending a wraith when I set my bloodshot eyes to close at night.

In the light of the morn, the thing never seemed significant, so small and innocent. But once the moon took over the sky, it grew, and grew to a terrifying monster. Oh, how could such a thing cause such trepidation in my very being?

My wife took my phobia well. She never commented about it, but also, she never helped get rid of it. Every night " tick tock tick tock tick tock." It never ends! At times, it pauses and my flesh relaxes - but only for a second! Then the infernal "tick tock" continues!

The animals never approach the largest timepiece in our house. The almost black color of the ebony grandfather clock created an ominous feeling in the back of the subconscious, only a tickling feeling that prickled the skin. It was an old piece, many times my own 37 years. The clock's chimes used to torment me as much as the "tick tock," but they have long since been silenced. The being, which stood above 6 feet, loomed over my head. It must have been beautiful at its creation, gleaming, clean, new. Now it stood like an ignored figure, all alone in the darkest corner of the hallway.

The bustle of horses' clattering hooves, people talking, owners of the huts deafened any noise during the day. I never heard the beating of the heart of the grandfather clock then. At night, when every person hid in their warm house, and the few homeless settled down, that's when it started. Never ending. Never ending...

For more then a few years I lived with this agony. Each day, my mind was sent further and further back into the deepest recesses that it could find. No one noticed. I didn't. Then a tick began near my eye, almost as painful as the "tick tock." My wife never saw what was happening. Slowly, the animals drifted away from me, skittering to the far side of a room whenever I stomped inside. Only one stayed near in the times, and for the next years. It was a smallish dog, a gift from my parent when I first married. The basset hound never left my side if it could. Even when I yelled at it, taking my frustrations out, it stayed near.

Who would think that this timid bastard I received would turn out so loyal? At times, he was all that kept me hanging on to that last thread that kept me near my sanity. But he was old - 18 years. One day, in the dark of the night on Christmas Eve, I came home, and saw him lying down. No tail wagging. No happy barking to greet his master.

Only the "tick tock" broke the silence. My mind screamed! That monster harmed my dog! Never more would he warm my feet in winter! No conscience remained to tell me I was wrong, no wife was there to sooth me. As my heart shattered, I ran into the kitchen. Opening a drawer, I saw the best device to use for such an occasion.

I walked to the grandfather clock, "tick tocking," - DARING to laugh at me! Raising the meat cleaver, I bashed in its face, taking pleasure at the ruin now before me. My wife walked it, and gasped at the scene. I chuckled maniacally, and once again battered the bane of my existence in this house. And again...and again...until all that stood before me was a pile of splinters. Only then did my mind calm, and I realized what I had done.

But there was no more "tick tock" to agonize me. Nothing to keep me awake, wondering if my life would soon be gone. It was then, and only then, did I see that the clock was not a black ebony, but a beautiful maple wood, with gold surrounding it. Though the many years I lived with this piece, it slowly grew darker, and I forgot the beauty of it. Only then, did I shed tears of the dead clock, nevermore to chime the hour, or greet me with its bright face. Never more to haunt me - but looking back, I realize I wouldn't have it any other way.